Virgin Australia has drawn up a shortlist of potential buyers from the first round of bids that closed on 15 May.

“We are delighted by the strength of each of those on the shortlist, with parties selected being well-funded and possessing deep aviation experience,” Deloitte lead administrator Vaughan Strawbridge said today in a disclosure to the Australian Securities Exchange.

He adds: “The parties have also worked constructively with the administration process and put forward credible indicative bids. Importantly, each has a plan for the business which can secure the future for thousands of Virgin Australia employees.”

Strawbridge says in the same statement: “The process we have undertaken is an expedited sale process encouraging strong competition for these valuable assets, but one that is necessary to ensure the business is restructured as soon as possible, so that it can remain a competitive force in the market and begin more normal operations as soon as Covid-19 restrictions allow.”

Citing “confidentiality commitments”, the carrier does not disclose further details about the shortlist – neither the number of parties nor their identities – but says it will be working “intensely” with the parties over the next four weeks to enable binding offers by mid-June.

“This will involve the sharing of more detailed financial and operational information, management workshops and meeting with as many of the financiers, landlords, suppliers, unions and other stakeholders of the business as possible,” it says.

The shortlist is said to comprise four parties: Australia- and New Zealand-focused private equity firm BGH Capital, US private investment firm Bain Capital, US aviation private equity firm Indigo Partners, and New York-based investment advisory firm Cyrus Capital Partners, according to reports by local newspaper the Australian Financial Review and Reuters.